When you do interviews, you grow your network. When you do a solo show, you grow your influence. There is only one problem. You are super comfortable doing a solo show.

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The Advantage of a Solo Episode

Solo podcast episodes have their advantages:

  • You are 100% in control. You can be as creative as you want
  • You know ahead of time what the content is (instead of hoping you get good answers from your guests)
  • Less production. You won't be interrupting people or trying to match levels with your guest. There is only one level- yours.
  • No Scheduling Conflicts

The Hurdles of Solo Podcasts

  • It is all on your shoulders for content
  • You need to watch voice inflection
  • It just feels weird talking to no-one
  • People think it needs to be as long as other episodes

Tips to Do a Solo Show

Forget About the Audience

So many people start to stress out because they think THE AUDIENCE to the point they forget that they just started their podcast and they don't have any audience. Often, they have a 2/3 full classroom of people so forget about THE AUDIENCE.

Talk To One Person

Do not start off your episode with “Hey Guys” as there is a really good chance your listener is listening alone in a car, or through a pair of ear buds and they are not in a crowd. So the proper statement would be to thank YOU for tuning into the show. I have some exciting things to share with you.

Your Invisible Friend on the Other Side of the Table

As I write this I'm answering it as if you came to me and said, “Dave, I just can't get comfortable doing a live show.” What would I say? How would I answer? I think of the invisible person sitting on the other side of my desk. They nod as I talk. I try to imagine what questions they might ask (which is how I go the pros and cons paragraphs above. As I type this, I am somewhat throwing grammar out the window and just typing like a talk, and letting Grammarly do the rest.

Wing it, Point it, or Script it?

WING IT

I've seen professional improv artists just tank on stage. When I convince myself that I know what I'm going to say without notes, I often end up recording it 3, 4, even 5 times (which is why I don't do that).

BULLET POINTS

In the past, I've written out three or four bullet points to guide me and then just talk to my friend across the desk about those bullet points. This worked about 90% of the time. I would then take those bullet points and expand on them for my show description/blog post (for me a podcast is a blog post with a blog for your description).

SCRIPT IT

If you want to write out your thoughts you can. However, throw grammar out the window and write like you talk. Why? Because we don't talk like we write or write like we talk. So get good at writing like you talk. It will make it easier to read without making it sound like you're reading. You don't want to sound like you're reading.

Last week I talk about the importance of pauses, and when you write out what you're going to say be careful about your pace. Your pace may be slower when you have to form your words, and there will be pauses. When you've scripted out what you're going to say, you don't need this time, and consequently, you may not leave room for the listener's brain to catch up.

Your Voice Should Be A Slightly More Alert Version of You

One of the hardest parts of doing a solo show is just your voice – that's it. So we obsess over it. If you try to put on some radio voice, it's hard because you're not being YOU. You're being a RADIO PERSON. You can be a slightly more alert, slightly more energetic version of yourself while still sounding authentic.

I Still Feel Uncomfortable Recording a Solor Podcast Episode

In the book Beyond Powerful Radio by Valerie Geller (which is available on Audible) talks about creating your team and identifying what type of person are you. She talks about two different groups of people: Generators and Reactors

GENERATORS

A generator easily works alone or as part of a team. They possess a strong imagination and don't sweat when they sit behind a microphone looking at the record button.

REACTORS
Reactors are also creative. They are great at taking an idea and running with it. The creator has a different style than the generator. The reactor might wet their pants when stuck behind a microphone by themself. A reactor is also creative and might talk back to their TV, and work best with other people to tag each other with creative energy.

The Perfect Mix of Styles

According to Geller, “putting two generators together might end up not listening to each other and compete for attention. If you put two reactors together they cast out nets for ideas over and over again and if nothing swims into the net it's boring.

Know Your Role

ASK THE PODCAST COACH

On Saturday I do a show with Jim Collison from Home Gadget Geeks. He also does some corporate podcasting for Galllop. Jim is the ultimate reactor. He typically can come up with different viewpoints that add to the conversation, and he is always paying attention. When I recorded this past weekend, as I was talking and for whatever reason, my voice went whacky, and I needed to drink some water, or clear it. When I tossed a topic at Jim and raised my cup to take a drink I could see (As this is on video) that Jim could tell I was running with the idea as he could tell I needed a second to get my voice back.

Jim now occasionally dips his toe as a generator, We use Streamyard to do the video live and stream to YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Streamyard give you the ability to take a comment from the audience it makes it appear on the screen. Jim now has the ability to do that where previously it was only me as the host who could do that. When Jim brings up the topic he is the generator, I then get to be the reactor.

I also realize that (using those definitions above) would be more of a generator (but I can also be a good reactor).

PODCASTER'S ROUND TABLE

I also am a co-host on the Podcasters Roundtable. That show is Ray Ortega (Generator) myself, and Daniel J Lewis from the Audacity to Podcast (reactor). This type of roundtable, it reminds me of a volleyball game. Ray serves the ball over the net, Daniel, Myself, and typically a guest or two react to each other (including Ray) but it's Ray who decides when to move on to the next topic.

WHAT ABOUT INTERVIEWS?

When you interview someone, you are the generator, your guest then reacts to the question. You then generate a follow-up question (which in a way is a reaction). With this in mind, I think you will eventually learn to do both kinds of roles, but you will feel more comfortable doing one over the other.

A Good Team is Always Aware of their other Team Members

When I do ask the podcast coach, knowing I'm a “generator” I occasionally have to remind myself to pass the ball to Jim. When I'm in the reactor roll-on Podcasters Roundtable I always try to first react and state an opinion, and let Ray decide where to go. I've seen Ray purposely ask someone for their opinion to make sure everyone gets involved.

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Join the School of Podcasting

Quit worrying about sounding bad, spending too much money on equipment you don't need. At the School of Podcasting, you get access to step-by-step tutorials, a private mastermind group (filled with brilliant podcasting minds) and group coaching as well as one on one coaching. Sign up today at

www.schoolofpodcasting.com/start

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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